Feds Deny Aid for Texas Hermine Recovery

Monday, Oct 11, 2010  |  Updated 9:22 AM CDT
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Feds Deny Aid for Texas Hermine Recovery

AP

Tropical Storm Hermine (l) in the Gulf of Mexico heading towards Mexico and Texas, (Sep 6, 2010 at 14:25 UTC)

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry is considering his options after the federal government denied his request for emergency aid to help the state clean up from Tropical Storm Hermine, his spokeswoman said.

President Barack Obama's administration rejected Perry's Sept. 20 request for a major disaster declaration and about $6.8 million in aid for 13 counties. Last month's storm killed eight people, including seven in Texas, and destroyed nearly 200 homes statewide, according to the governor's request letter.

But Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, wrote in a letter to the governor Friday that the storm's "severity and magnitude" did not exceed the capabilities of state and local government.

"Accordingly, we have determined that supplemental federal assistance is not necessary," Fugate wrote.

Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Perry's office, told the Austin American-Statesman on Sunday that the governor is examining his alternatives.

"We can appeal the denial, or we can pursue U.S. Small Business Administration loans," Cesinger said.

Without federal help, cities and counties must foot the bill for the cleanup.

Had Obama issued the disaster declaration, Texas residents could have received housing aid for up to 18 months and money for repairs and replacement of damaged items. Grants would have been available to replace personal property, and low-interest loans would have been available for uninsured losses.

Additionally, federal funds would have helped cities to pay for 75 percent of approved project costs in repairing public property, according to FEMA.

Six members of the U.S. House -- five Republicans and a Democrat -- also petitioned Obama to approve federal aid.

"This storm left behind a disaster -- there is no doubt, and it is the responsibility of the federal government to aid the state and counties in cleanup and repairing the damage the storm caused," said Rep. Michael Burgess, a Lewisville Republican, in a statement.

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